Review of Christopher Ferrara’s "Liberty: The God That Failed"

By:  John F. McManus
Review of Christopher Ferrara’s "Liberty: The God That Failed"

Author Christopher Ferrara’s main target, as indicated by the title of his book, is Liberty. He states: “America was the place where Liberty finally replaced what the Christian religion had once wrought in social order: the alliance of altar and throne.” But it isn’t liberty that has been failing in America; it is license.

Christopher A. Ferrara is an attorney who serves as President and Chief Counsel of the American Catholic Lawyer’s Association, a group formed to defend the rights of Catholics. A prolific author and steady contributor to Catholic publications (The Remnant, Catholic Family News, and Latin Mass), Ferrara has gained a following among the growing number of Catholics who are working to uphold the Catholic Church’s traditions.

In his 2012 book, Liberty: The God That Failed, Ferrara repeatedly rues that our nation is not Catholic, and therefore not possessed of a governmental system based on strict Catholic principles. His examination of the roots of his own native country has led him to condemn the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and, by inference, those Americans who find good in the American system of government and are trying to reverse the downward moral, political and economic slide of the United States. He claims that “the enlightened Founders, with their predominantly rationalist politics and deistic theology, set in motion: the definitive abolition of Christendom.” It is they, he proposes, who are ultimately to blame for what now prevails in America.

It is surely reasonable for an American Catholic to wish that his country had been based on unquestionable Catholic values. But, in this writer’s view, Ferrara goes way too far. While repeatedly concluding that the United States doesn’t possess the Catholic-centered style of government he prefers, he finds virtually nothing to applaud about America’s roots. He even insists that the American government’s powers “even before the [Civil War] had been greater than any exercised by King George over the distant colonies.” Quite a stretch there!

Targeting by name such early Americans as Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and their successors, Ferrara’s thesis would have one conclude that these men had cleverly plotted to bring about widespread divorce, abortion, tolerance of homosexuality, and numerous other social and political ills. But a survey of America’s history tells us that ....

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